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The Broncos have had a week to get used to the idea that star recruit and captain Adam Reynolds wouldn't be available to lead them against his former team as COVID has ripped through the club.

Not only is Reynolds out, but also forward Kobe Hetherington, five-eighth Tyson Gamble and hooker Corey Paix.

The match would have been the first for Reynolds in Broncos colours as he was rested from the pre-season trials while coach Kevin Walters tried to determine who would partner him in the halves.

In the end it didn't matter and another new recruit, Billy Walters, will play alongside Albert Kelly against the new Rabbitohs pairing of Cody Walker and rookie halfback Lachlan Ilias.

New Souths coach Jason Demetriou will also officially be in charge for the first time but after a long apprenticeship under Wayne Bennett at the Broncos and Rabbitohs he is more than comfortable in the role.   

Sportsbet Betting preview: Broncos v Rabbitohs

The Rundown

Team news

Broncos: The Broncos are 1-17 with no late changes.

Billy Walters and Albert Kelly are the halves pairing with star recruit Adam Reynolds ruled out of round one following a COVID diagnosis.

Jamayne Isaako is the fullback with Selwyn Cobbo and Corey Oates on the wings. Keenan Palasia starts at prop with Thomas Flegler suspended.

Kurt Capewell makes his club debut in the back-row with Ryan James and Tyrone Roberts doing likewise from the interchange.

The Broncos had no changes in their 24-hour team list. Brenko Lee is 18th man and Corey Jensen was the last man cut an hour before kick-off.

Rabbitohs: A blow for the Bunnies with fullback Blake Taaffe ruled out after rolling his ankle at training on Thursday. Alex Johnston moves to fullback and Josh Mansour comes into the side on the wing.

Youngster Lachlan Ilias has been given the nod to take over Adam Reynolds' No.7 jersey while Cameron Murray captains the Rabbitohs for the first time.

Davvy Moale is 18th man for the Rabbitohs.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Jamayne Isaako
    Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
  • Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
    Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Taane Milne
  • Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
    Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Jaxson Paulo
  • Centre for Broncos is number 4 Herbie Farnworth
    Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell Graham
  • Winger for Broncos is number 5 Selwyn Cobbo
    Winger for Rabbitohs is number 19 Josh Mansour
  • Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Billy Walters
    Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
  • Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Albert Kelly
    Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Lachlan Ilias

Forwards

  • Prop for Broncos is number 8 Keenan Palasia
    Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
  • Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
    Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
  • Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
    Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Mark Nicholls
  • 2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Kurt Capewell
    2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi
  • 2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki
    2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jai Arrow
  • Lock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick Carrigan
    Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray

Interchange

  • Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Ryan James
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Jacob Host
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Rhys Kennedy
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Siliva Havili
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Teui Robati
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Thomas Burgess
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Tyrone Roberts
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Michael Chee Kam

Reserves

  • Replacement for Broncos is number 19 Brenko Lee
    Replacement for Rabbitohs is number 18 Davvy Moale

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Cody Walker v Albert Kelly: After scoring 16 tries and being responsible for 33 try assists in 2021, Walker will take over the Rabbitohs chief playmaker role following the move by Adam Reynolds to Brisbane. The unavailability of the new Broncos captain has opened the door for Kelly to play halfback in the season opener and many feel he has a similar playing style to Walker which may lead to him forming a long term combination with Reynolds.  

Stat attack

Souths have won five of their last six matches against Brisbane and outscored their opponents 81-6 in 2021 as the Broncos failed to capitalise on their home ground advantage when the competition moved to Queensland, winning just six of 16 games at Suncorp Stadium.

 

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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